Land O’Lakes executive Sara Mortimore has joined Walmart as vice president of global food safety compliance.
Walmart said Mortimore is slated to start in the post on May 13. In the role, she will lead the retailer’s global food safety compliance group and program across the company.
Mortimore will report to Chris Cyrenne, senior vice president of global regulatory compliance. She takes over responsibilities in Walmart’s ethics and compliance department previously held by Vice President of Food Safety Frank Yiannis, who left the company in November to become deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s an honor to join a recognized leader in food safety,” Mortimore (left) said in a statement. “Walmart has embraced emerging digital technologies while not losing sight of the foundational elements of sound food safety management. It is adapting to an increasingly complex global supply chain and changing consumer demands with an innovative mindset in food safety that is exciting to now be part of.”
At Land O’Lakes, Mortimore served as vice president of product safety, quality and regulatory affairs, with responsibility for all of the company’s businesses from “farm to fork,” according to Daniel Trujillo, executive vice president and global chief ethics and compliance officer at Walmart. She joined Land O’Lakes in January 2008 from General Mills, where she was director of quality and regulatory operations after 18 years at the company.
“Sara’s prior experience leading quality, strategy, continuous improvement and change management makes her a perfect fit for this role,” Trujillo said in a company memo on Mortimore’s appointment. “Sara is an expert on quality and food safety management, with over 30 years of experience covering the entire supply chain. She is a co-author on a number of books on the topic of food safety and in particular the HACCP [hazard analysis and critical control points] system. Her main academic interest is the development of integrated food safety and quality management using a risk-based approach.”
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart has been stepping up its food safety efforts. Last fall, the company announced a new program to require suppliers of fresh leafy greens to use the blockchain-based IBM Food Trust Network. Walmart said direct suppliers had to establish one-step back traceability on the blockchain network by Jan. 31, 2019, and then end-to-end traceability back to the farm by Sept. 30, 2019.